Thursday, April 20, 2017

THINGS I'VE BEEN WRITING AND READING


I...feel like I don’t talk about writing as much as I could. It’s a major part of my life, and I think part of the reason why I’m hesitant to talk about my projects is because I’m a pretty fickle person and my projects tend to fizzle out quickly. I always vaguely mention my books and things but never in specific detail plot- and character-wise, and that’s not going to change.


At the same time, however, I want to share what I’ve been working on, particularly because I feel like I just need to track my progress. And I’m excited, because I feel like I’m at the point where I can finally figure out if something’s a good idea and whether or not to stick to it. I’ve stuck to these things for a few months now, so I think I’m in the safe zone???/ Ish???//


UNNAMED MIDDLE GRADE PROJECT ABOUT, OF ALL THINGS, FISHING.
The thing is, I think I’ve pinpointed what my writing style is, at least a little bit. I used to try to have funny narrators in my books, but I’m not really a naturally funny person, so while I would start out writing in some quirky humor, I couldn’t keep it up. So I’ve figured out that I want to write semi-serious books with some kind of emotional depth. And I’ve also figured out that while I’m good at coming up with ideas and concepts (I actually really enjoy writing loglines and blurbs, funnily enough), I’m not so great at coming up with characters. This is probably because I’m not great with people.


Anyway, my latest middle grade work-in-progress is about a girl who likes fishing. Its genre is magical realism. Things happen. She learns things. The people around her learn things.


I wrote about fourteen thousand words of a first draft until I figured out that I didn’t want to write in third person past tense. I think it’s my natural tendency to do so, but I was starting to disconnect with my protagonist. So now I’m at eight thousand with in first person present, and I really, really enjoy it--I’m getting more into her headspace now, which is fantastic. Honestly, I almost feel like she’s a real person.


Another thing I also figured out about my writing style: I like writing somewhat polished first drafts. Even though I’ve tried to write sloppy and messy first drafts, like everyone always advises me to, it just doesn’t work for me--I end up getting discouraged by how awful the first draft is and just ditch it. I like going over the words over and over again, even if I know I might have to change everything later. (I read an interview with the author Laini Taylor, and she said she’s that way too, which made me feel better about myself and not so much a crazy weird beginner person.) Checking things for continuity and stuff is also going to be helpful in the long run. If there’s something I want to fix, I’m going to fix it now.


Anyway, that’s one project.


BRAINSTORMING ANOTHER MIDDLE GRADE PROJECT.
At this point in time, what with school and all that, I can only really focus on one thing, but I’ve got another idea on the backburner. This one I’ve had roll around in my head for a couple years now, so I know it’s, at the very least, a halfway decent idea. Currently, I’m toying with the concept of two different perspectives, and I have a killer first line (at least, I hope it’s killer). Once I’m completely and utterly finished with the first book, I’ll probably try to start on this one.


MUSIC.
It’s only been pretty recently that I’ve been writing songs, but I really, really love it. I’ve written two complete songs (one of them, “Little Pink Dress,” is up on my YouTube channel; I wrote it for my little sister’s birthday) that I actually like and have a couple of partial ones that I’m slowly working on. Inspiration and time both come and go, and at this point, it’s more of a creative release than anything. I honestly just like jamming on my keyboard and getting all my teenage angst out, even if I’m the only one listening to myself sing. (Actually, the best thing ever is when you’ve got the entire house to yourself, so you play on the piano LOUD and sing LOUD and everything’s just LOUD and it’s fantaStic.)


I’m planning on filming a music video to the second song I officially wrote (co-wrote, actually, with Ella), so when that happens, I’ll definitely post it. Super stoked for after AP tests, because that means FREEDOM! and SUMMER BEFORE COLLEGE! and WOOOOO!


But first I have to get through APs.


THINGS I’VE BEEN READING
I read a lot, just so you know. The library is my favorite place to drive, and lately, I’ve been reading a lot more. Here’s some of the stuff I’ve gone through recently!


First & Then, by Emma Mills (YA)
oK oK I really, really, really liked this book. Like, really liked it. I don’t remember liking a young adult book this much, but I’m pretty sure I reread it like 3-4 times. The characters are incredibly well-developed, and Devon’s voice is so keen and funny and the dialogue is a lot smarter than regular dialogue is but the kind that everyone likes to imagine he/she can participate in and it’s witty and honestly not that cliche and I liked it. There’s some language, but it’s pretty clean and honestly, Devon’s voice ties the whole thing together. So funny. (Also, the romance is cute.)


And honestly, reading the Goodreads reviews made me sad. It taught me to never read Goodreads reviews. They’re pretty negative.


The Last Boy and Girl in the World, by Siobhan Vivian (YA)
I read this when I should have been studying, but I don’t really regret it. The concept is unique (a sinking town?) and the characters seemed like real people. There’s, on the whole, just a ton of character development and growth, and I did like the protagonist, Keeley, even though she’s literally the polar opposite of who I am and, if I’m honest, made some pretty bad decisions. Some language, but like First & Then, it’s pretty clean and interesting and complex. It’s thick, but I got through it in two hours. I’m probably going to reread parts of it.


Hundred Percent, by Karen Romano Young (MG)
The VOICE! (I die over great characters because I’m pretty awful at creating ones in my own stories.) The author has a really different, kind of nuanced writing style, and while my brain sometimes hurt from trying to understand all the inferences and implications of everything, I liked it. A lot. When someone writes something that’s different from what I’ve read before, I usually read the entire thing. This was the case. And honestly, I could relate to Tink a TON.


Evil Genius, by Catherine Jinks (MG)
This is a slowly building book that draws you in. If I’m honest, Act One and first half of Act Two are kind of slow, and I wasn’t hooked on it, but I liked it enough to finish it (which is something, because if my attention isn’t completely captured, I DNF. Life is too short to waste time on bad books). I don’t think I’m going to finish out the series--parts of the storyworld didn’t seem fleshed out to me, and I was neutral on a lot of the characters--but I liked Cadel and admired his guts. He’s a smart kid. I wish I was that smart.


Prince Caspian, by C.S. Lewis (LITERALLY FOR EVERYONE)
I haven’t read C.S. Lewis in years, so Prince Caspian was a lovely homecoming for me. I’m pretty sure the last time I read the books was in seventh or eighth grade, so it’s been a while. And I’m definitely going to be rereading all of them. C.S. Lewis is pure GOLD.


Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post!

Do you have any book recommendations? Post requests? Writing tips?

6 comments

  1. Cool cool cool. YOUR BLOGS SUCH AN INSPIRATION. I don't announce my writing because I always skip around a bunch with ideas and everything.

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  2. so excited!! and i've been needing some new books to read, so thanks! :)

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  3. oh my gosh, I am also currently struggling with writing good quality characters as well!
    Thanks for the book recommendations. I hope I like them. I haven't read many books lately that I like. :(

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  4. I just thought I'd mention that I prefer writing polished first drafts, too. ;) I go stir crazy if the draft doesn't make some kind of sense, so I don't turn my internal editor off. And, you know, it works for me. If doing some kind of editing while I write actually makes the process more enjoyable for me, then I'm inclined to keep doing that. So, I completely understand. :)

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  5. I LOVE POSTS LIKE THIS!!!!!

    So proud of you with all of your writing. And I just added a bunch of those books to my TBR:)

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  6. Oh my. You sound like me. I just can't help editing as I go!! Messy drafts bother me. It doesn't help that I'm absent minded, and if I don't go back and fix that niggling loose end I'm not going to remember to do it until IT'S TOO LATE. Okay, yes. I am being a bit melodramatic. 😉 Anyway, I can relate.

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